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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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Decisive delivery: Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen scores past Newcastle goalie Tim Krul at Emirates Stadium on Monday night. Arsenal won 2-1. AP

Arsenal prevails over Newcastle with goal in stoppage time


LONDON — Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen scored in stoppage time in a 2-1 win over Newcastle on Monday, completing the team's fourth straight come-from-behind victory in the Premier League to close within a point of third place.

Vermaelen scored in the fifth and final minute of added time, tapping the ball in from close range to send the crowd of more than 60,000 into a frenzy as the Gunners are now within touching distance of fierce rival Tottenham in the last automatic Champions League spot.

Arsenal was 10 points behind its fellow north London team only a few weeks ago, placing manager Arsene Wenger under increasing scrutiny and open criticism from fans.

Newcastle scored in the 14th minute after Vermaelen gave the ball away, leaving Hatem Ben Arfa free to run down the right and cut inside Kieran Gibbs. The French winger's curving left-footed strike beat goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny at the near post.

Arsenal had been dominating the match up until that point, and the hosts showed resilience to reply immediately from the restart.

Tomas Rosicky started the move and passed to Theo Walcott, who centered for Robin van Persie to take a touch on his left foot, turning Mike Williamson the wrong way, before blasting the ball past goalkeeper Tim Krul for his 26th league goal of the season.

Arsenal squandered chances earlier in the first half: Van Persie just missing converting a pinpoint cross from Walcott in the third minute, and coming close again when his powerful free kick went straight into Krul's arms in the 22nd.

The visitors appeared content going into halftime at 1-1 with Krul taking his time during goal kicks. Van Persie became enraged and the pair had a brief altercation — which flared again after Vermaelen's winner secured Arsenal's fifth straight league win.

Teixeira steps down


SAO PAULO — Ricardo Teixeira resigned as head of the Brazilian soccer federation and the 2014 World Cup organizing committee on Monday after a contentious 23-year stint in charge of the sport in the country.

The announcement ends an era that mixed success on and off the field for Brazil, with allegations that Teixeira took kickbacks from former FIFA marketing partner ISL in the 1990s.

The 64-year-old Teixeira, one of the most powerful men in Brazil, went on medical leave last week. Now, the Brazilian federation said he was leaving for good to look after his health and be with his family.

Teixeira's term had been expected to end in 2015. His letter of resignation was read by the new federation and organizing committee president, former Sao Paulo Gov. Jose Maria Marin. Teixeira said he was leaving with the "sense of mission accomplished."

"It's not easy to preside passion. Football in our country is associated with two things: talent and disorganization," he wrote. "When we win, talent is praised. When we lose, it's about disorganization. I did what was within my reach, sacrificing my health. I was criticized in the losses and undervalued in the victories."

Former Brazil star Romario, now a congressman, had harsh words for Teixeira.

"Today we can celebrate," Romario posted on his Twitter and Facebook pages. "We exterminated a cancer from Brazilian football. Finally, Ricardo Teixeira resigned."

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